Global tile maker to move US headquarters here
By Risa Polansky
The Roca Tile Group, which operates in more than 50 countries and is the fifth-largest ceramic tile manufacturer in the world, will relocate its US corporate headquarters from North Canton, Ohio, to Miami during the first half of 2007 and open a regional distribution warehouse here.
"Miami is a very important location for the US market," said Klaus Schneider, administration and finance manager of US operations of the Roca Tile Group. "Miami and Los Angeles are the two largest tile markets in terms of consumption, and we want to be where the market is."
The tile company, whose US manufacturing plant will remain in Ohio, leased 134,838 square feet of office and warehouse space — to house both the distribution center and corporate headquarters — in the Dolphin Commerce Center, 11190 NW 25th St. Terms are for more than $5 million for five years from landlord Principal Global Investors, said Tina Moyerman, marketing coordinator for the downtown office of CB Richard Ellis, which facilitated the transaction.
Mr. Schneider declined to share further details about the deal and said the company is "still investigating" whether it will receive local and state government incentives to make the move.
The new facility will create about 50 jobs, Mr. Schneider said, and while he is unsure of how many of those jobs will be filled by current employees and how many people the company will hire locally, he said, "Probably more hires than transfers."
He said he could not estimate the number of additional jobs for local residents in the future, but he foresees growth because "our company does not stand still."
The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County's economic development organization, did not work directly with Roca on its relocation, said Xavier Gonzalez, council director of marketing and communications.
He said the council keeps no specific numbers on the tile industry in Miami-Dade County.
Richard Jacavino, asset manager for Principal Global Investors, who also declined to share financial details about the transaction, said Roca required "no atypical improvements" to the property to accommodate its needs, one of which was space.
"I think this will be one of the 10 largest industrial deals done in the metro-area market in 2006," Mr. Jacavino said. "There aren't that many big-box spaces out there."
Roca is opening three additional regional distribution centers in Long Beach, CA, Savannah, GA, and Houston, according to a company press release. It will also expand current warehouses in Suffolk, VA, and East Sparta, OH, creating a network of 750,000 square feet of warehouse space, one of the largest ceramic warehouse capacities in the US.
The distribution centers will house all Roca Tile Group brands, including Laufen, United States Ceramic Tile Co., Roca and Incepa.
The company's ceramic tiles are used for interior countertops and floors and for patios.